I’tisam al-Din’s Shigarfnamah, 4: the founding of Calcutta

With the exception of the last paragraph, this passage is taken from Kaiser Haq’s translation which is very close in meaning and tone to the original Farsi.

On the Expulsion of the English from Gholghat and the Founding of Calcutta:

When the English had their factory in Gholghat, not far from the Moghul fort at Hooghly, their unseemly conduct, such as the loud and frequent ringing of church bells, led to altercations with the Faujdar. Eventually Badshah Aurangzebe ordere them to move elsewhere. Mr. Charnock, then governor of the English factory, chose a village near Titgarh, which henceforth came to be known as Charnocknagar.

Since ancient times the English have been known for their ambition and doggedness, but now they became well-liked for their peaceful behaviour.

At this time Aurangzebe was preparing to round off his campaign in the South with an assault on the formidable Golconda fort, stronghold of the Shiite king of Hyderabad, Abul Hasan. A prolonged siege had depleted the Badshah’s rations and material. On learning of this Mr. Charnock loaded all his ships with rations and rushed to the Mughal’s assistance, arriving in time to save his army from starvation. Mr Charnock was granted an audience at which he had the good fortune of being able to make obeisance to Aurangzebe and kissing the ground before his feet.

Mr. Charnock presented many rare objects from England to the Emperor. Subsequently he showed commendable zeal and initiative in helping with the digging of tunnels to undermine the foundations of the fort, thanks to which it was possible to take it in a short time. Mr. Charnock thus won his way into the Emperor’s favour and when he requested for the East India Company the right to trade tax-free and the tax-free lease of forty bighas [13 acres] of land, the Emperor readily granted it. On his return to Bengal he established a factory on the newly obtained land; it became Calcutta. [Farsi pp. 33-35]

Allah! Oh, the trickery of fate that awakens the ignorant, the conceited and the deluded tyrants and frightens the powerful; teaches humility to crowned commanders of armies for it can make of those who only yesterday were supplicants for thirteen acres of land the owners of one half of India, and it can humble the arrogant and reduce the rebellious. [GH Fari p 35]

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